Cover of Four to Score

Four to Score
Janet Evanovich
311 pages
published in 1998

It can hardly have escaped your notice that in the detective and crime genre, there's an even stronger tendency to write series than there is in fantasy or science fiction. It's not hard to see why. If you got a strong, interesting protagonist in a good setting, it seems a shame to waste them and reinvent the wheel for your next book. There's a danger that your series will grow stale or formulaic, but this seems to happen less than it would in other gernes, judging from what I've read so far.

Which brings us to Four to Score, an earlier book in the same series as Seven Up, featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. She works for her cousin Vinnie in Trenton, New Jersey and judging from the two novels I've read so far has remarkable little luck in getting easy bounty hunting cases. It doesn't help that she is a bit ...slow shall we say?

On the surface, the case this time is simple: find Maxine Nowicki, who was caught stealing her boyfriend Eddie's car and jumped bail. Things get complicated when Eddie asks Stephanie to keep a look out for some "love letters" Maxine took with her he wants back badly... From there on the plot thickens and what started as asimple case of bailjumping ends up in murder, to no great surprise.

What I like best about this series is the crude reality of Trenton life. The books are grounded in real life, with all its problems (family, work, sex, relationships etc.) and telling details. Janet Evanovich has a good eye for people, which is what makes these books so readable. The books on the whole are fairly shallow, but worth reading for the interaction between Stephanie and her family. Best read as a light break between more serious books.

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Webpage created 27-08-2003, last updated 18-03-2004
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